The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Country Health Rankings and Roadmaps recently published a report and health database collected from various United States counties and their respective states. The authors suggest that this data can be acted upon in communities across America to increase both the length and quality of life for all by examining health outcomes that might otherwise be overlooked. Further more, they contend that improved health outcomes is both good for low-income communities and the businesses that employ them.
The report calls for change in the way people approach helping the low-income populations. It underlines the importance of utilizing resources, such as this data set, and pooling efforts from various sectors to ensure an impactful, long term change:
Find ways to listen to people in your community who are affected by poor performance in any of the health factor measures in the County Health Rankings and ask them to help create solutions to the issues your community faces. Help grantees shift from doing for those most affected to working with those most affected. Recruit diverse stakeholders from multiple sectors and Build relationships in the Work Together guide provide guidance for helping grantees engage and build relationships with partners. Grantmaking with a Racial Equity Lens explores how a racial equity lens can help you scan your field or community, cultivate new leaders, encourage creative approaches, get people talking, and nourish change inside your own foundation.
The authors also emphasize that doing good is not restricted to nonprofits and philanthropies, and advocate for businesses to invest in their employees, citing physical health as a major component to a nation’s economic competitiveness:
Good health is good for business. When employers invest in their human capital by offering wellness, preventive, condition management and lifestyle programs and services, there are lower health care costs, fewer sick days, and increased productivity. When communities are healthier, employer benefit costs are reduced, economic development thrives, and everyone in the community benefits.
In short, the report acts as a mobilizer to the public urging for a push in obtaining equal health rights by using their respective sector platforms as a catalyst for change.